With the rapid increase in the global population, there is an expectation that there will need to be a dramatic rise in agricultural production, doubling to meet the coming demand. Many farmers are now turning to agricultural robotics as a solution to this problem, as the rise in AI and new developments with the technology are allowing farmers to realise greater profit, diversity and efficiency.
Australian company thingc Robotics are at the forefront of agricultural robotics, developing an on-demand workforce of robots with a myriad of applications. TECHSPO delegates will have the privilege of meeting one of their prototypes at this years’ conference.
Their on-demand workforce is made up of fully autonomous, Artificial Intelligence-powered robots that are flexible enough to accommodate a range of tools/accessories, allowing them to perform a range of farming functions throughout the season.
thingc Robotics started by building robots to support horticultural row crops, as there was specific demand from farmers in that industry. However, as their robots are adaptable, they soon realised the potential of their applications and have interest from orchards, vineyards and weed management in pasture. By adapting to suit different row widths, their robots are able to work across a broad range of farm types.
Cameron Leeson, founder of thingc Robotics , explains the efficiency and adaptability of the robots; ‘One of the key advantages of robots is the consistency and repeatability of the work they carry out. Once our system has learnt how to manage a particular crop or situation, any number of robots can be provided with the same capability. We are seeing technology develop at such a rapid rate that we expect robots to ultimately exceed human capability for many tasks. In the meantime, where robots are not as efficient as humans, we can overcome this challenge by adding more robots to increase overall performance levels.’
They are currently working with existing tool manufacturers to develop tools that can be integrated with their robotic platform in order to speed up their path to market. Their first tool will be a mechanical weeding tool to weed in organic fields, however they are looking towards soil sampling, spray units, mowing decks, nut harvesters and pest & disease detection in the near future.
Whilst thingc Robotics are still in development with a number of prototypes, Cameron hopes that WA farmers can provide them with key insights, suggestions and feedback at this years’ TECHSPO. “thingc Robotics are excited to showcase our latest robotic prototype at TECHSPO as it gives us a great opportunity to hear from farmers first hand about how fully autonomous robots can drive both efficiency and profit for farmers in a practical way. It is vital for the growth of our business, and the future of agricultural robotics, that we solve real, tangible farming challenges with our technologies. We’re thrilled to showcase our progress in this area and hear what WA farmers have to say.”